Everything you need to know about the 5:2 diet

What is the 5:2 diet?

The 5:2 diet or fasting diet as it’s more commonly referred to requires dieters to eat normally for five days of the week and fast with limited calories for two days of the week. On these two fasting days, you should limit yourself to 500 calories in total.

5:2 diet plan

Many people find this diet easier than other diets as it there is no restrictions on what you can and can’t eat, just how much. On the five days of normal eating, it’s important to stick to a healthy diet. According to the NHS, women should aim to eat no more than 2,000 calories per day.

It’s also very important to ensure you leave at least one day of normal eating between your fasting days to not have two fasting days together. Never skip your breakfast and have a small snack for lunch and a larger dinner.


5:2 diet recipes

No matter how picky your palette, there are plenty of tasty meal plans that can feed you for less than 500 calories. Expert health and beauty site, getthegloss.com have some great recipe ideas if you’re following the 5:2 diet. We’ve listed some of our favourites below.

Fast day plans

  • Diet day 1

Breakfast: Fruit and nut muesli (50g) - 190 calories

Dinner: Pesto salmon with curly kale - 293 calories

  1. salmon fillet (100g) - 180 calories

  2. 3 tsps of green pesto- 80 calories

  3. steamed kale, add black pepper (100g) - 33 calories

Snack: 60g of stoned cherries - 23 calories

Total calorie count: 506 calories

  • Diet day 2

Breakfast: Mixed berry bowl - 115 calories

  • strawberries (100g) - 30 calories

  • raspberries - (100g) - 28 calories

  • blueberries - (100g) - 57 calories

Dinner: Harissa chicken with chargrilled vegetable couscous - 314 calories

  • 1 x chicken breast (130g) - 160 calories

  • 100g of vegetable couscous - 139 calories

  • 1 tbsp harissa paste - 15 calories

Snack: Pistachios (around 10) - 60 calories

Total calorie count - 489 calories

  • Diet day 3

    Breakfast: Packet of Belvita Breakfast Biscuits (muesli) - 228 calories

Dinner: Roasted vegetables with balsamic glaze - 261 calories

  • ½ courgette, ½ aubergine, ½ butternut squash, ½ red pepper - 247

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar - 14 calories

  • squeeze of lemon - 0 calories

Snack: Harley’s sugar-free jelly pot - 4 calories

Total calorie count: 493

5 2 diet books

  • The Ultimate 5:2 Diet Recipe Book by Kate Harrison

    These recipes will make your fasting days a pleasure!

  • The Fast Diet by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer

    This book is packed full of recipes and goes in depth about the science behind fasting and psychology around dieting.

Calorie counter apps


If you want to keep track of how many calories you’re eating it’s a good idea to download a calorie counter app onto your smart phone or tablet. We’ve listed some of our favourite free calorie counting apps to get you started.

MyFitnessPal - App Store and Google Play

With over 6 million foods logged onto the system as well as barcodes, restaurant food and information on nutrients, it’s never been easier to track what you’re consuming and log your fitness journey.

Nutracheck Calorie Counter+ - App Store and Google Play

This app is great if you have a specific fitness goal in mind as it will help you achieve your target through the various nutrients that you eat. It can also sync with activity trackers such as the Fitbit to make sure both your diet and exercise routine are in sync.

Change4Life - App Store and Google Play

Brought to you by Public Health England, this app is great if you’re looking to get your whole family healthier with tasty diet swaps and fitness ideas to help control how much you all consume.

There's more health advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.